Below is a list of our most commonly asked questions. If you still have more questions, please contact us at (559)549-6747 or


What are nitrates?
Nitrates can occur naturally in surface and groundwater at levels that do not cause health problems. However, levels of nitrate in excess of the standard drinking water are dangerous, especially for infants and pregnant women. Nitrate contamination in groundwater is generally associated with septic systems, confined animal feeding operations, or fertilizer use.
What health concerns are associated with nitrate in drinking water?
High nitrate levels can interfere with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues of the body, producing a condition called methemoglobinemia. This is of greatest concern in infants; clinical effects on infants ingesting high levels of nitrate are often referred to as the “blue baby syndrome.” High nitrate levels may also reduce the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood in pregnant women and increase the risks for complication in their pregnancies.

Well Testing

Is the well test really free?
Yes, the well test is free for all residents who live in the Kings Water Alliance Service Area and have a private domestic well. There are no hidden costs.

Are there requirements that may affect eligibility of the free well testing?
The primary requirements for the free well test are for the private domestic well to be located on a parcel within the KWA Priority 1 area and not subject to a Waste Discharge Requirement General Order (such as the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, Dairy Program, or Confined Animal Program) requiring the collection of groundwater samples from drinking water and/or domestic wells.

To receive free bottled water, a household’s drinking water well must be verified to be above the maximum contamination level of nitrates in their drinking water which is 10 mg/L. If the values for nitrates are equal to or above the MCL, the house is eligible to receive free bottled water, regardless of enrollment in a program under water discharge requirements.

There are no income requirements for well testing or bottled water.

What information does the application ask for?
Requested information includes name of the applicant, their contact information, address of the well location, household size, owner or tenant, and if other households are serviced by the well. This information is used to determine eligibility for both the free well testing and receiving bottled water.
Can a drying or completely dry well be sampled?
A completely dry well cannot be sampled since there is no way of obtaining the necessary volume of water (200 mL) needed for the lab’s analysis.

Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) is an additional non-profit group that also assist residents with drinking water related issues, such as dry well issues. For dry wells, call SHE drought support at 559-802-1685. More information about SHE is available on their website

How is the well sampled and how long is the process?
Water samples are taken from the closest point available to the well. Most wells have pressure release valves upstream of the pressurized tank that can be used for sampling purposes. Other ports can be used as long as the faucet is upstream of the pressure tanks. However, as a well owner please may make sure the well is in good working order, as staff will typically have to trip the pressure switch to ensure the well that is sampled is directly from the aquifer and from water in the pressure tank. This means that the electrical covers and/or wiring is not damaged, and the plumbing fittings are in good working conditions, meaning no leaks if opened.

The entire process of sampling the well and if needed signing the well sampling agreement takes 5-10 minutes.

If the water sample comes back as high in nitrates, what happens next?
When results indciate nitrate levels exceed the MCL of 10 mg/L, the KWA contacts the landowner/domestic well user of the potential risk posed by consuming the contaminated water. At the same time of contact, KWA staff will verify some additional information from the application such as the delivery address, the number of people in the household, and if there are any special delivery needs.

With all the verified information, KWA staff contacts its vender (Sparkletts) and provides them with the basic information (name, address, special instructions, etc.) to have them add the initial delivery of water to their already existing route. Once contacted by KWA, the initial water delivery of six 5-gallon containers, takes 2-4 business days to deliver.

Are there other groups or resources helping residents affected by high nitrate levels?
KWA has three fill stations available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, in three cities:

• Kerman Community Center – 15101 W Kearney Blvd, Kerman, CA 93630

• Hanford KART Station – 610 W. 7th Street Hanford, CA 93230

• Dinuba Circle K – 517 W E El Monte Way, Dinuba, CA 93618

These fill stations are completely free and available to anyone from the public who brings their own water container, ranging from a sports bottle to a 5-gallon container.

Fresno County – offer a one-time FREE water analysis for nitrates, bacteria, and some other constituents on well that drilled through their permitting process independent of when the well was drilled.


Kings County – offers only presence/absence bacteriology test for E. coli and coliform at rate of $20 a test Monday to Thursday (no Friday deliveries due to incubation period) under the county’s Environmental Health Dept located 330 Campus Drive Bldg 1 Hanford, CA 93230


Close Search Window